Review- Ritepoint Chromatic

Every once in a while I like to take a look at something vintage and see how well it stacks up. Plus I’ve got a soft-spot for slim, fine (line) writing pens. Now I’m not entirely sure as to the status of the Chromatic (or Ritepoint, or whoever) but it does seem these pens (and refills) are discontinued, but easy to find online. Is it worth it to snag one?

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The pen body is very slim and stylish, reminiscent of the Cross Century. It’s a smooth cylinder, with a gold-banded break for the twist mechanism and tapers at the back and front. At the fron,t a third of the taper is in the form of a gold-colored metal cone, from which the point extends when the mechanism is engaged. The back taper terminates more abruptly and affixed to it is a fairly solid, basically flat clip that runs almost the length of the back section.

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The action of the pen is strange enough that I’m not sure it’s working properly. Turning the back half of the pen clockwise a quarter turn will extend the ballpoint and lock it into place. From there twisting will do nothing until enough force is applied counter-clockwise and the pen “clicks” at which point the tip will slowly retract completely. It’s an interesting compromise system and it works quite well. It’s just that everything feels a bit still and awkward. I can’t quite tell if it needs oil, is broken, or that’s just how it’s supposed to be.

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As for the writing, it’s quite good. My pen has a blue “microtip” cartridge installed. The ink is smooth enough coming out that I can write in cursive, though the lines themselves have some start-up and shading problems (oddly reminiscent of fountain pens). The line width is equivalent to, or slightly thinner than, most “fine” points and the ink properties are fairly standard. The only other function; the clip is better than average but nothing to write home about.

It’s a decent little interesting piece of history, but I wouldn’t say it’s essential for any collectors. And the impracticality of having to hunt down new-old-stock or second-hand refills or fashion your own out of whatever might fit makes it not a good choice for the regular user. If it sounds interesting to you I’d say go for it, but it’s nothing to run out and hunt down.

Review – Sharpie Twin Tip Fine/Ultra Fine

I like permanent markers, and Sharpies are some of the best. But there are many situations where the tip of a fine Sharpie is simply much to broad. Carrying around a second sharpie in extra-fine seems like a hassle, or vise-versa depending on which size one uses more. The people at Sharpie (Sanford (Rubbermaid)) must have figured this out at some point and so they now have multiple point Sharpies. Let’s take a look at the Fine/Ultra Fine version.

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The body of the pen is quite like a regular fine-point Sharpie. The cap is slick with a flimsily little plastic clip built in. The body is made out of a similar material and has the necessary information printed on it. Where there would usually be a rounded-off end on a normal Sharpie, there is instead a tiny cap that has a set of spines, and is much easier to grip than the other end. Pulling either cap off reveals a slick section that is nearly identical to regular Sharpie Fines and Ultra Fines. These sections are not quite slippery enough to have the pen fall out of one’s hands during normal usage. The larger cap posts very easily on the smaller one, but in a very well-thought-out design choice, the larger cap has several small studs that allow the smaller cap to in effect be posted. This doesn’t hold the cap in the most secure manner possible, but is better than the alternative of nothing.

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The tips are fairly standard. The Fine is slightly larger than a Micron 08 or about 1mm, the Ultra Fine is about 1/2 mm or about the size of a Micron 05. Both of these are large for standard writing, but for writing on boxes, other large spaces, or some drawing they are superb. The ink is standard Sharpie fare: a cold, deep black (when the marker runs dry it becomes a much warmer color) that covers well, but not the best. It is permanent and run-resistant, it stains clothes and is unpleasant on the skin. It is non-toxic for normal use, but heavily sniffing or eating would be cause for concern. Just be normal with your normal usage.

Is it worth it to get a pen with two tips? Yes, if you find a need for both. I’d suggest going with the fine more often, as the ultra fine tends to dry up faster with its smaller cap. But there is still a good amount of utility there. The thing is easy to use, and works really well. Moving, signing, warehousing, and large art pieces are where these will find their homes. And really, for a nice black permanent marker, there are few that match and none that are better.

Review – Sheaffer Maxi Kit Calligraphy Nibs

Now, for the second part of the Sheaffer Maxi Calligraphy Kit review. This one might be a bit short as I’m going to be looking at the three included nib sizes: Fine (1mm), Medium (1.5 mm), and Broad (2 mm).

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The nibs themselves are Italic, meaning that they are flattened and straight at the tip, thus producing a wide up-and-down stroke and a thin left-to-right stroke. They are true Italics, with no tipping material, and sharp edges that may cut into the paper if one isn’t careful, but they are a bit more rounded off than a dip pen Italic would be. Because there is no tipping material, the stainless steel of the nib is easier to wear away and damage from rough use. Although this doesn’t happen often as steel is still a very robust material, it is worth noting.

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Each nib has almost the same left-to-right width, but the up-and-down stroke width is equal to the size of the nib stated above (1mm,1.5 mm,2 mm). The fine nib can be used for regular cursive writing, but the medium and broad nibs should not be used for cursive writing as the size necessary would render writing impractical or illegible. Although the corners of the sharp nibs can cut into the paper, they aren’t quite sharp enough to make the sharpest of line turns. To most eyes, the angles appear spot on, especially when compared to the round corners of regular fountain pens, but when compared to a dip nib they are a bit lacking. Overall, the nibs a very functional and useful in a variety of situations (at least calligraphy situations). They provide enough variation to not be bored with inking up three pens, and even without a tipping material will last through quite some use.

Review – Sharpie Pen Colors

I have reviewed the Sharpie pen before. And the ink in that pen was a bit of a muted black. Now it’s time to look at some more of the Sharpie pen color palette: the blue, red, green, purple, and orange pens.

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Colors not exact representations.

Starting off with the blue, which is a typical blue, if a bit washed-out looking. It is a subdued blue that would be appropriate in most work environments. They say that all of the colors are water-proof and smear resistant. I will say that is mostly true unless under extreme circumstances, but don’t expect them to be as all-around useful as their marker cousins. They also dry fairly fast and are supposed to be non-toxic, but I’m not checking that.

Now to the red, which is the most disappointing of the bunch. It is faded and looks almost pinkish. It’s hard to tell it’s really a red and it certainly lacks the intensity most look for in a red ink. That being said, it is subdued and will work better in a work or school environment where one would want a less aggressive color.

The green is, say it with me, subdued. It is undeniably green, and being as laid back as it is almost intensifies it. It’s the hardest to read out of the bunch and is almost eye hurting after a while. Strangely it is almost identical to Micron green.

The purple is flat, but deep. It is easily the darkest and most readable of the bunch. It is also fairly close to a Micron purple and provides a nice, neutral color, that is still quite different.

Now finally the orange. The orange is the only intense color out of the bunch, and even then for orange it is fairly flat. It does jump off the page and provide the kick one would expect from a nice orange. I’d say it’s probably the best color of the bunch.

So there are a few colors. Aside from looking almost identical to Micron colors I’d say they’re good. I haven’t the foggiest as to why that is but it is a bonus in my book. Anyway, if you like Sharpie pens, and want some nice, pleasant colors for work or some such, I’d take a closer look at these. And due to their subtlety they also look much more natural in drawings than standard, intense colors.

Review – Bic Disposable Fountain Pen Black

If you’re an artist or would like to become one you’ve probably heard that ballpoints are not a good art instrument. While this is not the case, there certainly are better ones. Fountain pens are generally accepted to give a better writing performance than ballpoints. And the Bic disposable fountain pen seeks to combine the smoothness of one with the convenience of the other.

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The body of the pen is a smooth torpedo in the classic fountain pen shape, though a little smaller. The cap has an easy-to-use clip attached solidly to the top that is both sturdy and tight. There is a partial ink window and logos along the otherwise silver-colored barrel, nothing else. Taking off the cap and looking at the (grip) section, the feed(er) is viewable though a clear tube. The section is much thicker than a ballpoint and easy to grip, though it may become slippery and has no lip at the end. The nib (tip) is steel and ground to a medium point. It is unspectacular looking.

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As for writing, it is very good. Most of the money you pay likely went into the nib and it shows. The pen writes smooth and effortlessly for the most part, but can be prone to feedback. The flow of the ink is good and it keeps up well. Speaking of the ink, it is surprisingly black, and unsurprisingly not waterproof. This ink will feather easily and take a moment to dry. I also don’t recommend using cheap paper, as the ink will bleed thorough, though not as bad as many bottled inks. There is a massive supply of the ink, though, so you won’t have to worry about this pen breaking your wallet particularly.

For a cheap pen ($2-4 a pen), this is a very nice one with a lot of okay ink. It writes well and draws the same. If you’re looking to experiment with fountain pens in your art or writing, and would prefer a slightly larger pen, this is certainly one to look up.

Review – Uni Paint Pen

So you want to paint, but you’re better at drawing. Or you want to mark on some surface unsuitable for Sharpie or other permanent markers. Well, the Uni Paint PX-21 by Sanford may be for you.

This pen is oil-based and needs to be shaken up like a spray can before use. It has a “fine” point, which means a medium or even broad point if you compare it to anything that is a not a paint pen. The line it writes is solid and about as thick as a large Crayola marker. This particular version is the black version which is especially solid, though it is fairly shiny, somewhere between a Sharpie and a matte black spray in terms of marking on plastic. It does mark on literally anything, though some shiner plastics and polished metals have it wear off easily.

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The body of the pen is metal and feels solid in the hand. A shiny label has all the necessary information printed on it, including warnings and such. This label makes the pen slightly slippery in the hand so tight gripping is necessary.

The cap matches the color of the paint. It has ridges that are sharp and cut into the skin. It also fits very snugly onto the end, meaning it is quite difficult to remove, which is both a hindrance and a benefit.

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Also be warned that since it is an oil-based pen it stinks mightily and will give you a headache after a few minutes of constant exposure. The label even tells you to put the cap on immediately after use, though this is most likely also to not let the paint dry out.

Overall this is a great little painting device. It is especially handy for touchups on plastic and metal painting. Or, if you’re like my relatives and have a shop were regular markers and price tags have a hard time sticking to the stock. It’s not really a home item, or one that will be useful to canvas painters, but it certainly will have its place with sculptors and model builders.

Review – Black Sharpie Pen

 

 

 

 

I like Sharpies. They’re good makers and some of the most permanent I’ve ever used. They’re useful in tons of situations, from signing to just getting something bold out there. The only problem is sometimes they just aren’t small enough. If somethings need to be both permanent and small you seem to be out of luck. Until you find Sharpie pens, that is.

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The body of the pen is similar to most other pens, it is slim and long. It has a label containing all necessary information about the pen and helping decrease the slickness of the body. The cap has the interesting aesthetic of not being larger than the body, making the pen look slightly odd, but this makes no performance difference. Attached to the cap is a flexible clip that does its job nicely and is not prone to breaking. At the bottom of the pen is also a place to slip the cap on so that it does not get lost while one is using the pen.

 

The line produced by the pen is thin, but still thicker than common cheap ballpoints. It comes out exactly where you put it and in that deep black color one expects from a Sharpie. Pressure makes very little variation, the ink is always black, and only slightly lighter if one tries to achieve that effect. It flows smoothly over most surfaces and sticks everywhere you expect Sharpie to stick. Although it does in the end feel more like a pen than a Sharpie.

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I stated in the beginning the main reason one would get this pen. It’s a nice small, permanent, bold pen. It’s serviceable at most pen and Sharpie duties. It would even replace fine-point Sharpies for me. But of course it has the problem of not having a specific use. So it would really be up to you whether or not you have a use for this pen.